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Waynesboro celebrates on the Square

January 01, 2000

Waynesboro TheatreBy BRENDAN KIRBY / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Hundreds of people jammed the Square and Main Street here Friday to celebrate the final hours of the 1900s and to usher in a new era.

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The festivities began at 6 p.m. at Rainbow Gymnastics on West Main Street with Christian Singspiration, a religious event with music, drama and puppets. They were to end with Mayor Louis Barlup counting down the final seconds until midnight.

Musicians and poetry readings took center stage at Shanni's Coffee Shop. Fairview Brethren In Christ Church sponsored a "show me prayer" called "Living Fire Mime Group." Children, faces painted in white, acted out a song called "The Champion," meant to show how Jesus defeated Satan.

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"We've been all over. Taking it all in," said Dolores Sprenkle, of Zullinger, Pa. "We're never going to see another 2000."

Sprenkle's husband, Omar Sprenkle, 65, joked that the square was a good place to be if Y2K computer chaos struck.

"We're checking to see if the electricity goes off," he said.

There were plenty of activities for virtually any taste. "Waynesboro 2000," carved in ice, decorated the sidewalk off the square.

Later in the evening, an ice sculptor was to carve a stallion from a large ice block. Large-screen television sets sat nearby so town residents could catch the action from Times Square in New York.

Music kept the crowds entertained all night long. Aggressive Little Juice Machine, a local Christian Band that recently landed at No. 32 on the contemporary/inspirational charts, played at Rainbow Gymnastics.

But many people seemed more interested in a different set of performers - themselves. People packed the seats at the Waynesboro Theatre and lined the aisles to watch a karaoke competition.

Melvin Lohman brought the house down with "Amazing," by Lonestar. The three judges were impressed, too, giving him a combined score of 28.

"He got a 10, 9 and 9," said Lohman's enthusiastic son, Nick. "He's the first one that ever got a 10."

Waynesboro resident Melvin Lohman, 30, said he has sung karaoke a few times at a local bar and would like to find a band.

"I practiced the song some. I tried it a couple of times at home," he said. "I didn't know if I could hit the high note and carry it."

Lohman is not the only singer in his family. His 9-year-old daughter, Ashlee Lohman, sang Britney Spears' rendition of "(You Drive Me) Crazy."

"I was kind of nervous. I was shaking," she said.

Others did not fare as well with the judges. Jeremy Harris, 19, and a friend sang a duet of Ricky Martin's hit, "Livin' La Vida Loca." It was his first time singing a karaoke song, and Harris said he had fun. But the judges hit him with scores of 3, 4 and 5.

"It was pretty harsh," he said. "I probably would have been better by myself."

Some singers brought plenty of karaoke experience to the stage with them. Paul Fink, of Shippensburg, Pa., earned a combined score of 18 with his rendition of Sawyer Brown's "Thank God For You."

Fink, 22, used more than just his voice. He shook back and forth on the stage, clapped his hands and got the audience going. He wore blue jeans, a denim shirt and a black cowboy hat.

"I dress the part. I watch the video to get myself familiarized with it," he said. "I had a ball."

Fink and his friend Bryon Smith started a group called the Karaoke Junkie Club. About 15 people sing karaoke about once a week throughout the area.

Smith, 27, earned a 23 with Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive." He said he got into karaoke about six years ago when he worked for WSHP in Shippensburg.

"Playing the songs over and over, I started to get to know the words," he said." I thought I'd give it a try and have some fun."

Most people at the theater were more than content to watch.

Waynesboro resident Doris Sheldon, 72, said she had no interest in singing.

"Just criticize," she said.

Sheldon said she enjoyed the music - and the entire millennium celebration.

"I like the guy who impersonated Kenny Rogers. All the country music was good. And the kids were good, too. I'm just not into that kind of music," she said. "Waynesboro needs things like this."

Terry Sheldon, 49, who was visiting family from Harrisburg, Pa., said he thought the judging was too tough.

"I think the judges ought to go up there and sing, because some of the scores were pretty bad," he said.

Rick Thiess, who is originally from Tampa, said he enjoyed the contest and was looking forward to the rest of the evening.

"Just doing the whole thing this year. Checking it all out," he said. "This is my first New Year's Eve in Waynesboro."

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